Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Election Year: 2010
Primary Section: 26, Genetics
Secondary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Membership Type: Member
As a geneticist and cell biologist I study the molecular mechanisms of chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis and the consequences of their failure on cell physiology. We use the budding yeast S. cerevisiae to study the final stages of mitosis and showed that this cell cycle transition is controlled by the protein phosphatase Cdc14. Our studies on the regulation of Cdc14 activity have served as a paradigm for how the activity of a protein is regulated by its changes in subcellular localization. In our work on the meiotic divisions, we investigate how regulators of the mitotic cell cycle are employed during meiosis to bring about the specialized meiotic cell cycle program.
We also study the consequences of chromosome mis-segregation, a condition known as aneuploidy. Here, we focus on the effects of aneuploidy on cellular physiology in yeast and mouse. Our studies indicate that aneuploidy leads to protein stoichiometry imbalances that elicit an aneuploidy stress response. Currently, we are investigating how the adverse effects of aneuploidy are overcome during tumor evolution and how it could be exploited for new tumor therapies.